Much more successful was the 405, which reverted to the traditional 114-inch wheelbase, and carried a 4-seater saloon body with interior and exterior styling similar to that of the 404. The aluminium body had four doors (it was the only Bristol ever to do so) and, despite the use of some wood in the framework, it still weighed 1.2 tons. Mechanical revisions included the addition of an overdrive on the tail of the close-ratio four-speed gearbox.
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Among the noteworthy features inherited from the 404 was the provision of compartments in the front wings-one carrying the spare wheel, the other the battery and most of the electrical gear; this feature which, by concentrating the weight near the' centre of the car, reduced the car's polar moment of inertia in yaw and in pitch, was continued in all subsequent models.
The 405 continued in production from late 1954 as a saloon (297 examples) and a drophead coupe (43) until 1958. By this time the British Government had enforced some rationalisation of the aircraft industry, as a result of which it became necessary for the car division to be hived off as a separate limited company. Two very interesting prototypes-one an all-independently-sprung tourer with a 3½-litre, twin-overhead-camshaft engine, the other an ultra-low super-sports car with space-frame chassis-had to be abandoned, and the new company's first production model revealed a change in emphasis.